Monday, June 3, 2013

Vice President William Ruto West Africa’s Tour and the ICC

Three weeks ago the vice president of Kenya William Ruto undertook his first diplomatic tour since ascending office. I am aware of his tour of Netherlands but that does NOT count since he was going there to participate in the ICC conference involving his case where he is charged together with radio journalist Sang.
Most of the reporting of the West African diplomatic onslaught has been around what is currently referred to as the Jet Scandal. This involves the manner in which the office of the Vice President went about procuring the services of a luxurious jet and the price the state will pay for this trip. The Nation Media Group through its Nation newspaper publication was first to break this story together with an invoice of what it cost to procure the services of this luxurious jet. After this story there was a huge reaction on the Kenya social media which goes by harsh tag #KOT [Kenyan’s on Twitter].
Hustlers Jet I Source:
The office of the Vice President has tried to contain this ‘scandal’ by giving their side of story. As of now we know there has been no wrong doing by the office of VP in terms of procurement. What has annoyed the public is the huge sums of money involved in this West African trip while the government has been busy advocating for austerity in spending of public funds. In fact the president [Uhuru Kenyatta] has been walking the talk. Recently he attended the London Somalia conference on board a Kenya Airways commercial flight.
the President arriving at JKIA from his working trip of London I PPS
Why did the Vice President undertake a tour to West Africa?
While the official narrative being spawn around is that the West African circuit undertaken by the VP was to push for more trade engagements with our West African counterparts. Well, this is a welcomed move by UhuRuto administration.
However, I cannot buy this narrative. I tend to think that this trip might have had more than meets the eye. My hypothesis is that the vice president undertook this trip in the lead to the African Union Summit celebrating 50 years. His brief might have been to seek support for the Ugandan draft which seeks to push for the African ICC cases to be brought back to the continent. If you look at his itinerary and the timing of this visit one can read the motives.
Perhaps one of the disturbing assessments I seem to be drawing out of this trip is the fact that the ICC prosecutor comes from a West African country. The question that needs to asked is could there be an underground movement to push her office to drop the cases facing our leaders?
The Changing Tide in Perceptions about ICC
Since the president and vice president ascended to power there has been a movement which has risen to push for their agenda. This movement has castigated the International Criminal Court. This onslaught started with painting a bad picture of the Kenyan civil society. This has been done by a blanket condemnation of civil society by account of its funding mechanism. Since most of the civil society receives funding from international donors then it has been assumed there is a positive correlation between funding and advocating for interests of the West. In this case the pursuit of the perpetrators of Post Election Violence is viewed as a western endeavor. It should be noted that civil society played a big role in collecting evidence on the 2007/08 post election violence. While I might certainly NOT agree with all the civil society does personal attacks towards CSO leaders is certainly not the way to go.
CSO attacks by people close to the president
The election of Jubilee government to power has been assumed to be a referendum against the ICC since the president and the vice president have cases currently ongoing. The questions perhaps occupying most of us is;
·        +  Are the two leaders the ONLY ones responsible for what befell the country in 2007?
·        +  Will the victims achieve justice from a process taking place in Europe?
While most of the population seems to agree that the president and the Vice president are not the only ones who we’re responsible for the 2007/08. A discourse of the two politicians being made the sacrificial lambs is currently being advocated.
It remains to be seen what is going to happen in the coming days since it appears their cases might be collapsing at the ICC on account of witnesses pulling out and as a result of lobbying in high places by Uhuru administration. 

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